Production began this week of medals for World War Two bomber crews, many of whom flew from East Anglia, and those who sailed the Arctic convoys.
Veterans and their next of kin should apply for the Bomber Command clasp or the Arctic Medal by calling 08457 800900 or visiting www.veterans-uk.info
The clasp is to be attached to the 1939-1945 Star’s ribbon and to qualify the veteran must have flown at least one operational mission with a Bomber Command unit.
The two medals were controversially not issued soon after the war because some people questioned the morality of the bombing campaign and the Cold War changed attitudes to the Russians whose war effort the Arctic Convoys supported.
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock welcomed the news. He said: “This announcement recognises the enormous bravery displayed by those who fought for our freedom in World War Two. This is especially true in West Suffolk where Bomber Command flew sorties from RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath and other airfields throughout the county.
”Thousands of young men flew out of these bases; their average age was only 22. Nearly half would never see Suffolk again and we owe them a debt we can never repay.
“I would encourage all eligible veterans and next of kin in West Suffolk to apply for these awards.”